Dodgers take control in Game 3
October, 6, 2013
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- Sunday night began with some anxious moments for the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans, but like most hard times, they didn't last.
The Dodgers erupted for 10 early runs to blow past an early two-run deficit and beat the Atlanta Braves 13-6 in Game 3 of the National League Division Series in front of a loud sellout crowd at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers have put themselves in a good, maybe even commanding, position in this series, up two games to one with two more chances to knock the Braves out. Even if they lose Monday night, they have ace Clayton Kershaw lined up for Game 5 on his usual four days of rest, and he has already shown he can win in Atlanta.
Hanley Ramirez, meanwhile, has been an unstoppable force in this series. The shortstop's six extra-base hits in the three games tied Steve Garvey's franchise record for a postseason series, which Garvey accomplished in four games of the 1978 National League Championship Series. It's hard to tell Ramirez is competing in his first postseason. He singled, doubled and tripled Sunday, scoring two runs and driving in two more.
Dodgers fans, watching their first postseason action in four years, seemed to be having a rollicking time once the Dodgers took control in the third. At times, they mocked the Braves fans' "Tomahawk Chop" chant. At others, the right-field pavilion chanted "Puig," as it often does. And the stadium gave an appreciative ovation to outfielder Carl Crawford when he flipped into the stands pursuing a foul fly in the eighth.
The Dodgers hadn't scored this many runs in a postseason game since the 1956 World Series.
Crawford also hit a three-run home run and the Dodgers got a two-run shot from Juan Uribe, their offense chasing Atlanta's talented young starter, Julio Teheran, from the game in the third inning.
As it turns out, they needed plenty of offense. Hyun-Jin Ryu was not sharp and there are now serious questions about his soundness for the remainder of the playoffs. Ryu made it through three innings, giving up six hits and four runs. Before Sunday's game, there were questions about Ryu's health since he threw a bullpen session in front of the team doctor in Atlanta.
Ryu has had issues in the first inning and they cropped up again, with Atlanta scoring two runs on three hits. Justin Upton doubled over Skip Schumaker's head and Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson had RBI singles.
But the Dodgers, who had wasted a man-on-second-no-outs opportunity in the first inning, came to life in the second inning. After A.J. Ellis' walk, they had the bases loaded for Ryu, who lined one to Justin Upton for a sacrifice fly. The next batter, Crawford -- the man stranded in the first -- caught a breaking ball and lined it over the right-field fence.
Ryu's pitching -- as well as his fielding --– failed him in the third inning. The Braves loaded the bases with nobody out, but Brian McCann hit a double-play ball to Adrian Gonzalez. However, Ryu missed the bag covering first (according to umpire Bill Miller). The next batter, Chris Johnson, swung and hit a "nubber" down the first-base line. Ryu fielded it and, inexplicably, threw to the plate though Freddie Freeman was practically stepping on it by then.